The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Virginia Tech Shootings, and Hurricane Katrina represent examples of intense circumstances that appear to be increasingly commonplace. This type of event seems to be occurring with much greater frequency than before. How city officials, military officers, emergency responders lead in extreme situations is an important area of study. The central aim of the project is to uncover the key leadership behaviors and competencies necessary for managers and leaders dealing with major trauma and extreme events. The project identifies leader behaviors related to the competencies for effective leadership. Based on the level of violence and tragedy in society, it is vital to explore how competency-based leadership may help deal with this trend. A study of leadership in extreme circumstances is one avenue to help executives, managers and subordinates bring healing and cohesiveness to their respective workplaces in times of crisis. The lessons learned from extreme cases provide new perspectives on how to manage and lead and, as a result, there is great potential to inform managers and leaders everywhere.